In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Orthodox Jew Who Sights the New Moon, Nehemia Gordon delves deep into Rosh Chodesh with Dr. Roy Hoffman, founder of the Israeli New Moon Society. From Moses, to Hillel the Younger, to Maimonides, Hoffman explains Orthodox perspectives related to sightings of the new moon. Hoffman also introduces LunaCal, a free software application he developed to calculate when and where the new moon is most lightly to be visible.
Dr. Hoffman explains intricacies of new moon terminology and calculations, the difference between a sighting calendar and a calculated calendar, the role of the Sanhedrin, the creation of calendars through the centuries, and how new moon sightings relate to the practice of Jews in the Diaspora observing holidays for two days instead of one.
Though Gordon and Hoffman hold differing views on when to observe Rosh Chodesh today, they close on common ground—looking forward to the time when the calendar is perfected under the reign of the King Messiah.Download Orthodox Jew Who Sights the New Moon
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Dr. Roy Hoffman was born in 1963 in London, UK. As a child, he had a strong interest in science and technology and benefited from the beginnings of the microcomputer revolution. He went on to study Chemistry at University and because of his attraction to mathematics and computing went into physical chemistry for his PhD. Seeking to experience a more spiritual relationship with his faith, he applied for work in Israel, and accepted a post-doc position at Hebrew University. He is the founder of the Israeli New Moon Society. In Jerusalem, he met Channa who became his wife. Today, they have five children: Jonathan, Rina, Akiva, Sarah and Na'ama.